“Solitude islands from afar. These minor details

“Solitude is a one person’s party”. That was something I used to hear, but had never really understood. I would think: Solitude? What’s there to enjoy about loneliness? But gradually, I’ve grown to realise that there is a world of difference between the two.    From the outside, they look very similar: both defined by solitary, but while loneliness is the bitter feeling of being left in isolation, solitude, is instead a state where you can provide yourself with sufficient company.     In the past, I used to love the company of my friends, and felt the constant need to be the centre of attention. But as I mature, I begin to treasure the time with myself more. Because in this world that seems to spin faster and faster, having time to slow down and be with ourselves is essential. It is how we learn and grow —through questioning and having a conversation with ourselves.    My daily dose of solitude would be the time I spend travelling home. These short fifty minutes, I spend with nothing but myself and my love for music. As I hum along to my favourite songs in my head, I would think about the little things I have in the back of my mind, things as simple as reading a book that a friend has recommended, or picking up a gift for a friend’s birthday. With these thoughts swimming in my mind like little fishes in a pond, I would notice and admire how the tufts of clouds in the cerulean sky look like floating islands from afar. These minor details would make me smile and appreciate the world around me.In addition, solitude allows me peacefulness that stems from a state of inner richness. Because through solitude, I reflect. I would think about what I had accomplished that day, what I had not, and what I could do better tomorrow. Through reflecting, I discover and understand the world and myself better. This period of solitude is a time I treasure dearly, a time where I can truly be comfortable by myself.Science and psychology has proven that solitude increases empathy, and helps sort out thoughts. Many great thinkers such as Lao Tzu have championed these benefits of solitude. Indeed, since the time I have first learnt to appreciate solitude, I’ve found it easier to empathise with others, and to take a moment to think when making decisions. I’ve also learnt to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made, and to learn to look forward while looking back. Solitude has given me time for introspection, while being free from self-consciousness. This has shaped who I am, and strengthened my sense of identity.     I believe we all need periods of solitude, although we may differ in the amount we need. Solitude allows us a chance to regain perspectives, to renew ourselves for the challenges in life. It provides us with a sense of direction and fills our lives with purpose.9 Arthur Schopenhauer once said:  “A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is truly free.” Solitude is the state of being alone, without being lonely.    Thus, in solitude, I believe.Word count: 549